Some other places may stake claim as the "Cowboy Capital of the World," but it's hard to argue against Stephenville, Texas being the No. 1 spot. 

Located 70 miles southwest of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Stephenville is known for having more professional rodeo competitors per square foot than any place on the planet. 

More than 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls will have competed in the 88th San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo by the time it wraps up with the short-go Friday night at Foster Communications Coliseum. 

And more than 60 of those competitors call Stephenville home. 

"I guess it's just a good location, especially in the winter, for rodeoing down here," said calf roper Jake Pratt, who moved to Stephenville five or six years ago. "I don't know what turns people on to start moving there, but dang, I would like to take a helicopter and see how many arenas there are. They're everywhere. 

"If you drive down every road, there's horse places and arenas. Between college kids (in the program at Tarleton State University) and rodeo guys and the amateur guys, they're everywhere around there." 

Another Texas town, Bandera (roughly 50 miles northwest of San Antonio), has also has been tabbed the "Cowboy Capital of the World." 

Nothing against Bandera, but the folks from Stephenville will politely dispute that. 

"(Stephenville is) pretty populated with cowboys," said calf roper Cimarron Boardman, who competed in San Angelo last week. "I've been all over the country and pretty much the world, and I've never been to any place like this place. Even the contestants that winter down here, it's pretty wild." 

This past September, Stephenville hosted the 50th annual Cowboy Capital Pro Rodeo at Lone Star Arena, and it featured more than 600 competitors. 

When you consider how many pro rodeo competitors there are in Stephenville, in addition to Tarleton State having a well-regarded college rodeo program, it illustrates how big of rodeo mecca this Texas city with a population of just over 21,000 residents really is. 

Of course, Stephenville's most famous cowboy is nine-time world champion and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Ty Murray. He was born in Arizona, but has lived in Stephenville for many years. 

"I'm sure there were some others, but he's always one who's going to come to mind when you think about guys who have lived here because he's such a big deal in his career," Boardman said. "You really can't go anywhere in town without running into somebody who rodeos in one event or another. 

"They're everywhere. You go through town and you pass five rodeo rigs. And if you go to another town, you won't see a trailer all day. But here there's rodeo trailers everywhere and rigs everywhere. It's pretty wild." 

Boardman says most of the rodeo contestants who live in Stephenville aren't originally from there, and that's his story as well. He moved there 16 years ago from Missouri and has never looked back. 

"The calf roping world for us, which is the world I'm mainly in, you can practice with those guys and stay competitive with those guys," said Boardman, who won a championship in San Angelo in 2011. "I had never had that ability to practice with guys of that caliber until I moved here." 

The Cowboy Capital Pro Rodeo is the biggest event on the calendar every year in Stephenville, but things never really slow down rodeo-wise. 

"There's jackpots every week and the hometown rodeo," said Pratt, a 32-year-old roper who has a good shot of making Friday's short-go in tie-down roping in San Angelo. "It just seems like everybody just likes to rodeo around there." 

Even the jackpots feature a lot of household names for rodeo afficianados. 

"You'll show up and there's 10 NFR qualifiers there," Boardman said. "It keeps you sharp and you stay on your game. There's never a chance to let off around here, and it makes you that much better and competitive if that's what you want to do." 

Tyler Magnus is a Cowboy Hall of Famer from Mason who competed with his son, Truman, last week in team roping in San Angelo. His daughter, Ruby, competes on the rodeo team at Tarleton State. 

Magnus said he's known for many years how big this area of the Lone Star State is for cowboys and cowgirls. 

"If you want to rope or compete in anything, you've got to live from San Angelo to Stephenville to Llano or Mason, in that triangle somewhere," said Magnus, a nine-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier. "And I don't think that's stepping out of line because I know people that go all over the world and this is where all the great people are. They've all migrated." 

During his heyday, Magnus said he was living in Llano at the same time that ropers Tee Woolman, Speed Williams and Rich Skelton were winning a slew of world titles. 

"And then a few younger guys migrated to Stephenville because there was more to do, and it's grown from there," Magnus said. "If you want to check your game out in any (event) in rodeo, just move within a three-hour radius of Stephenville." 

The Hall of Famer says he tells young competitors from this part of Texas all the time how fortunate they are for having the quality arenas they compete in, like San Angelo, the quality of the stock involved and the level of competition they face. 

"People in North Dakota or Washington, they don't get to do that," Magnus said. "It's the only place in the world where the greatest people hang out, especially in the winter. They're all congregated in a three-hour radius, so any jackpot or rodeo you go to, everyone's there, the greatest people in the world.  

"That just creates a feeding frenzy of greatness that people just keep pushing themselves to be better." 

Boardman talked about the impact the college rodeo at TSU has on Stephenville. 

"That's another side of it that brings a lot of people in at an early age, and they realize that they like it here," he said. "A lot of them do stay here after college, and the university does a good job of bringing in good students and good athletes for the rodeo program. 

"Between Ranger, which has a great rodeo program as far as junior colleges, and Weatherford College's rodeo program and (Tarleton State), a lot of people live in that triangle so it brings a lot of people to this area." 

Boardman spoke about the economic impact the rodeo business has on Stephenville. 

"This is where everybody is and it just keeps growing," he said. "I've done a little bit of real estate and the real estate's pretty wild around here between the college and rodeo environment. It keeps it driving upward pretty good." 

The transplant from Missouri has found his nirvana in cowboy country. 

"All together, we call it home and we love it here now," Boardman said. "It's a good environment and a good community.  

"This town, for sure, it keeps driving you to be better and better as far as being around all the competitors, and that's one thing that keeps you here. It's pretty cowboy friendly around here. If you want to compete amongst the royalty, you've got to live with them."